Looking to buy a LOW PROFILE card for my C521 NEED HELP!!!

heyron618

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I am looking for a new LOW PROFILE video card for my Dell C521 without having to make any other upgrades for my power supply, cooling, wiring, etc. My current video card is the ATI Radeon X1300 128MB and my price range is $75-150.

From searching over the internet, I found out that my Dell C521 has a 280W PSU, which some say is not upgradable due to its size and shape.

The best low profile (NVIDIA) video cards I could find include: 8600gt, 9600gt, 9800gt, gts250
From this list I was leaning towards the 9600gt.

I realize that the more powerful the card is, the more power it needs from its power supply. So I was wondering…what’s the best video card I can get away with using only a 280W PSU. If there are any ATI low-profile cards with around the same performance and price as what I listed, I have no problem with buying another ATI card.

I don’t need a video card that runs max settings on all the newest games. I’m hoping at least be able to run games like Half-Life 2, Call of Duty 4, and Fallout 3 on anywhere from medium to high settings at a decent resolution (my native res. is 1280x1024) because I’m tired of settling for 800x600 res. on low to medium-low settings.

P.S. I don’t know much of anything about video cards other than what I researched, so if there are any other compatibility issues or tips I should know please help me out…Thanks!!!


MY CURRENT COMPUTER SPECS

Manufacturer: Dell Dimension C521
Processor: AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 4000+ ~2.1GHz
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Hard Drive: 250 GB
Video Card: 128MB ATI Radeon X1300
Monitor: 19'' Dell LCD
Sound Card: SigmaTel High Definition Audio CODEC
Operating System: Windows Vista™ Home Premium

 

AKM880

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I have the exact same system, with a different CPU tho. You'll be able to run the 9600GT or a 4650. Maybe a 4670. Your PSU won't be able to run the 9800GT.
 

AKM880

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Also if you overclock your CPU it'll probably give you more performance in those games.

EDIT: Sorry forgot it was a Dell :lol:
You can still overclock (using software), ask if you interested about this.
 

heyron618

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Thanks...I'll keep that in mind. I'm not very computer savvy when it comes to hardware, so I'm not interested in overclocking or making other upgrades to my computer at the moment, unless it's absolutely necessary.

Out of those cards though, which is the best bang for your buck?...because I'm looking to make a noticeable upgrade from my last card but I'm really not willing to go over $150 in total costs.

I also could use some help in deciding what brand/vendor to go with. I've been browsing newegg, tigernet, and ebay but since I don't know much more than the basics, all those slight difference from one brand to another is confusing.

So if anyone can point me in the right direction, that'd be great.
 

AKM880

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Look at the benchmarks. If you go ATI I typically go with Sapphire or HIS. But the 4650 (Sorry no 4670, can't seem to find it) only comes from 3 brands and Sapphire seems the better one. For the 9600GT go with Sparkle, I have one and its great. The Galaxy one has a loud fan problem I've heard.
PS. Overclocking insn't that hard, espcially software. You'll just need to adjust some sliders and thats about it. Oh yea and run the stress test ;)
 

heyron618

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According to this site http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/gpu_list.php (and a few others) the 9600gt is easily more powerful than the 4650…or am I just looking at them wrong?

I have a question though, are these results valid for the ‘low profile’ card versions or the full size equivalent?

I've narrowed my search to these cards, which do you guys think is the best?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814187060
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814162016
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102829
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=4008556&CatId=3670
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=4042991&CatId=1826

Thanks again for the quick replies
 

AKM880

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Like I said, if you go 9600GT then get the Sparkle. That Galaxy's fan is really loud. If your going ATI then get that Sapphire. Its up to you.
 

heyron618

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After reading some reviews, think im gonna go with the Galaxy 9800gt.

I realize it's hotter and louder but the sparkle has a few kinks to work out when installing from what I've read. So it's really a trade-off. Plus, I don't game 24/7 or plan on pushing my card to its limits so the temperature and noise shouldn't be as bad, right?

Plus, I bought it already LOL. Sorry, I probably should have taken your word for it, but I'm sure I'll be happy to have a brand new card either way. I do remember the sparkle was cheaper too, so worst case, I can try it out and send it back if I'm not happy.

Since you seem so interested in my thread akm880, I do have one other question...Since I'm new at this, what do I need to know before installing my card in terms of drivers, physical tools, etc.

I appreciate the help. Cheers dude.
 

instant90

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Hey I got a Vostro 220 slim, the power supply is 250 watts and I was wondering if the 9600 gt would work with this? I also don't know much about video cards but i heard the amps are more important. I don't know if dell's psu would work, from what i researched, they underrate their psu's so a 250w would be around 300w(not sure if this is true)? The 9600 draws a max of about 95 watts and 9800 is around 105( I beleive). On another fourms, I read that someone had 250w psu with a 9600gt with no problems for some time, but then it blew, not sure if this will apply to me.
 

AKM880

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It might come in either a low profile bracket already attached, or you'll need to change it to the low profile bracket. It might need a PCIe external poer plug though IIRC. Remeber to remove ALL the drivers of the old card previous of this install, and no tools are needed ;)

Good Luck with it! Nice pick too :D
 

heyron618

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Yeah I've read up on a bunch of forums now about what power supply will handle the galaxy 9600gt, answers seem mixed overall...anywhere from '250w is fine' to '280 is ok if you make a few modifications' to 'you definitely need to upgrade your PSU from 300 to xxx'.

I'll probably just keep searching for any new advice until my card arrives, maybe get help from a friend if I can get in contact with him.

P.S. I meant 9600 gt in that other post, not 9800 (though you probably knew that). I'll shut up now, haha.
 

AKM880

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What are the PSU specs? Amps? It should work altho it would be cutting it close.
 

instant90

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ok, this is my 3rd reply in a row, but I looked it up, at most the 9600 draws 8amps on the +12v rail. This means that as long as the rest of my comp doesn't draw out 8amps while the 9600 is drawing out 8 amps I should be fine, but the problem is, I don't know if it will...
 

AKM880

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I'm sure it'll work fine I hope to get mine soon :bounce: Good luck with it!
 

instant90

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Well, The Core 2 Duos are all 65-watt CPUs. That's 5.5 Amps on the +12V. Rest of the system 5 amps (1 HDD, 1 ODD, mobo, RAM, fans). Drawing 18.5 amps on max config. As long as you don't pull over your 16amps, you should be fine, same in my case I suppose...
 

heyron618

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I got my card today! I'm so tempted to jump right in and install it now but I'm going to check with my friend about this, raid forums a bit more, then use my best judgement. I'm much more willing to consider a new power supply now if I can find a compatible one with good reviews for $50 or less.

To Instant90, akm880, or anyone else that can help:
How do I find out how much total power my rig will draw if I install my new card. My computer specs are in the initial post of this thread, I have one duel core processor, 1 hard drive, and 1 cd/dvd drive. Better yet, if you can calculate it for me, I'd trust the numbers more probably lol.

One more thing...let's say I were to install the card with my current power supply. What am I risking the damage of: the power supply, the video card, both, or another part of the computer...cause if it's just the power supply, it's no big deal since I was thinking about replacing it anyway.

Thanks guys.
 

heyron618

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I will try it, just later...I have the next two days off from work to get this whole thing figured out so I'm not in a huge rush...very anxious, but not desperate. It'll take a good chunk of time just to read the manual and install it properly (yes it's cause I'm a hardware noob).

Any unanswered questions in my last couple posts stand because I'm curious and wanna learn about this stuff more.

I'll check back later...
 

instant90

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Which card did you buy exactly?

your numbers should be the same as mine since you're processor also has 65 watts which is about 5.5 amps, same with the 1 ODD and 1 HDD which is 1.2 amps a peice, and 1amp for two 120mm fans running at full, would make it total to 8.9 amps. I found out recently that galaxy's 9600gt lp actaully draws 60watts max which is only 5amps, I'm not sure about sparkles which was cheaper, it should be 8amps total at 95watts max. But right now on newegg the galaxy's the same price as sparkles with rebate ($85).

So right now at most you're system will draw 8.9 amps on the +12 rail I beleive, and your current on the +12v rail PSU is 16 (check the psu), if so you're good if you got the galaxy one, if you got sparkes, you might want to check on that one since you're cutting it real close.
 

instant90

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just to let you know, the earlier statement I said about 18.5amps, was overestimated, the post above this is more accurate.
 

heyron618

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This card is the one that came in the mail today:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814162016

I guess your saying it should be fine like you did before, other than that I don't really fully grasp the terms and numbers your spitting out (ex: +12v rail PSU) so I can't put this into perspective to how much leeway my power supply has.

As much as I'd love to stay and chat, I've got dinner to make, a friend to call, and my girlfriend to hang with. Be back later tonight.
 

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